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Marcy1009

Post abuse anxiety and panic attacks

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Hi all, Laika my 5 year old female collie suffers from mild to debilitating anxiety. I've tried to split up this post  so it's easier to read and understand. If anyone has any experience with this or any tips we would really appreciate it !

 

Back story : I adopted Laika a month ago ( I'm very aware it will take her a longer time to settle) . When we adopted her we were told she went from puppy foster care, to the ISPCA ,back to foster care , then adopted for a year and back to the ISPCA. So its pretty obvious she's been moved around alot. Apart from this her previous owner whom adopted before-  his daughter surrendered her back to the ISPCA- suffered from dementia . Its quite obvious she has been abused and it was explained to us that she can be quite nervous. She has been kept as a pet dog as opposed to a working dog

 

Issues : Laika can be lying on the couch and suddenly sit up , start panting heavily and cannot catch her breath , as if she is having a panic attack. This can last for 2 minutes to 20 minutes, sometimes she looks relaxed, other times her eyes are wide. This is always followed by yawning and lip licking. She also does this in the middle of sleep as if having a nightmare and although she has no fear of jumping in the car , for the entirety of the car journey she will pant and slobber. she will also paw at me and wine for comfort. She growls at all men apart from my partner. 

 

Treatment : She has seen the vet and  has been taking Yucalm for almost a month now. Although she has settled more I dont think it is helping anymore, and so Dorwest Skullcap and valerian is next . I am going to have her cortisol levels checked just to make 100 percent sure we are not missing anything. We have a routine of exercise twice a day and food twice a day . We are also starting some training classes ( although she already knows basic training and learns fast) so that we can work on agility in the next months- as she is happiest when she is out exercising.  I've also been teaching her ''settle''- to lie down and relax as I'd say about 70 percent of the time she paws and gasps and pants, and I want her to know she will be safe here- but of course it has only been a month and it will take much longer to settle. 

 

If anyone has any experience with this or any tips that would be great , Thank you 

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Welcome to the Boards.

Have you consulted a veterinary behaviorist, i.e. a veterinarian who specializes in behavior? Or are you working with a general practice vet?

I did a search for Yucalm and came up empty. Is it an herbal or holistic formula?

I think it this were a dog I'd adopted, I might be looking to consult a specialist who's well versed in canine psychiatric meds for this dog. The idea wouldn't be to keep her on them indefinitely, but to reduce the amount of panic she seems to be experiencing so that her thinking brain can engage.

 

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Hi Gentle Lake, thank you so much for the welcome!

 

I'm in Ireland , and unfortunately vet behaviorists are quite niche here and initial programmes are about 800 euros. However I completely agree, and yes Yucalm is herbal, and I dont think its working as well as something like Fluoxetine could work for her, a dogs version of human SSRIs. I'm bringing her to the vet this week and I will definitely ask about a referral for a behaviourist, its almost as if she is suffering from PTSD , like shes having flashbacks, the poor thing. And exactly, sometimes its like as soon as her she wants to explore or play , its like shes too frightened to even move. 

 

Thank you for your advice 

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I had a bc, Shoshone, taken from a very bad situation to a good rescue at about 1 yr old. She was seriously underweight, and covered w/fly & flea bites. She had a canine version of PTSD. 

Somehow we finally tried clomicalm, (Clomiprimine) and it worked well. She was a different dog within a few weeks. Some dogs respond well to fluoxetine, Prozac. We had tried that and had no success. I had tried various supplements and behavior approaches and nothing worked at all, except clomipramine.

You could approach the veterinarian w/a request to try whichever is most accessible for you. In the US, the generic clomipramine was about $5 or so for a month's supply. Shoshone was on it her whole life. I did try weaning her off it once and within a couple weeks of the last dose she was wacky again.

Good luck, I hope you get some help for your girl.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Fluoxetine is generic Prozac, originally (and still) a human medication, not specifically a veterinary med. My anxious gal's been on it for a year with good but not complete results.

What you're describing in your dog is much more serious than just anxiety though. Vet behaviorists aren't exactly common here in the US either, but in a case like yours I think it would be the best choice regardless, if you can afford it. You may well end up spending much more than that barking up the wrong tree anyway, so why not start with the right professional help?

There's a relatively recent book by vet behaviorist Nicholas Dodman called Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry that's a compilation of cases he's seen and treated, often using the same psychiatric diagnoses and treatments used for people. PTSD is one of the things he discusses. It's not a how-to book, but it's a very interesting read and it might give you some insights and information to discuss with the vet if you can get it. It's what led me to inquire with my vet and start prozac for my gal, who, as I said, isn't nearly as badly affected as your dog seems to be.

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Hi Gentle lake , 

 

Thank you so much for sharing , I hope your gal keeps trucking on and gets happier every day . I am going to search out that book now , thank you for the recommendation. I also think you're right , I feel like its alot more than just anxiety and definitely more up the PTSD road.  The last vet we saw - who isnt my usual vet - didnt seem too bothered about it, so I guess you're right , start as we mean to go on  and get the right help for her.  

 

If we end up seeing a vet behaviorist I will update, 

Thank you again for your help!

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@urge to herd Hi , thank you so much for your advice ! I've never heard of colmicalm , and I am going to ask my vet about it ! I'm slightly wary about trying Laika on Fluoxetine as it's an SSRI / prozac and I wouldnt be surprised if she suffered from drowsiness and diarrhea . 

 

I'm really happy to hear it helped Shosone was a happy happy girl !! You obviously saved her life. :)

 

Thanks again , Amy and Laika  

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Marcy, the generic is clomipramine. I myself took Prozac for a few months and it did nothing for me besides make me sleepy. A different, non-SSRI drug, (it acts to regulate dopamine, not serotonin) does wonders for me.

Shoshone was much more at ease w/the clomicalm, though she continued to be quirky, as we called it. I'm very glad it worked for her, it made everyone's lives easier.

Please let us know how things work out for you.

Ruth & Gibbs

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@urge to herd Yeah , the drowsiness is what I'm worried about for laika, I've worked as a councillor and I'm still in psychology studies , so I know exactly what you mean.

 

I've also taken some stuff myself in the past and I think a TAC like clomipramine would work well for laika , it seems it initially block norepinephrine and serotonin , so it would give her a good chance to regulate her serotonin while the norepinephrine is blocked. Also glad to hear you found what worked for you :) 

 

I will definitely keep you up to date , thanks again!

 

Amy and Laika 

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No real advice to add, just want to say that I am sending you my best mojo and hope that you have success with this dog. I was a foster home for border collies for years and have dealt with dogs who were terribly damaged psychologically from what happened to them in their past. I learned a lot from this and am very grateful to have been able to do this. The one thing I would say is two-pronged. One, Don't give up. Believe in your dog and that she can come through this and be happy. And two, don't be ambitious for her, don't rush, don't despair when she has a set-back, and let it take the time it needs to take. She will learn that she can be safe and she can learn to relax. Best of luck with her and keep us posted.

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@D'Elle That's amazing , you must have learned so much and helped so many BCs! :)

I'm rooting for her, and I'll stay in her corner. My biggest wish for her , is just that she will know that she is safe and can relax one day :) Thanks so much and will keep you posted :) 

 

Amy and Laika

 

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9 hours ago, Marcy1009 said:

I'm slightly wary about trying Laika on Fluoxetine as it's an SSRI / prozac and I wouldnt be surprised if she suffered from drowsiness and diarrhea . 

The only thing I can say about that is that Tansy has had no issues with drowsiness and none with diarrhea. I was advised to give it with food, so that may have helped with the latter, and no evidence of stomach upset either.

I also took prozac for a while many years ago and also had no drowsiness or GI effects. So it's definitely not a given that Laika would be affected this way and you'd know in a pretty short length of time if you needed to try something else. And maybe it's not even the first thing a vet behaviorist would choose for her based on her symptoms anyway.

The thing is there are so many more medications to try since I took it that there are other options if the first thing tried doesn't work. That's also another reason to work with a vet behaviorist whose focus is not only the behavioral side of treatment but also much more familiar with the range of meds available than most GP practitioners can be.

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